I’ve been an admirer of Oswald Chambers for a while now, and the more I read his writing, the greater my appreciation. His devotional book My Utmost for His Highest has had a cherished place on my desk, bookshelf, and nightstand for many years. No matter how many times you read it, there’s always something new to discover the next time.
A case in point: yesterday’s reading referred to the necessity of battling our will first before God alone rather than before the world. Otherwise, we will be defeated on both fronts. But when we win the battle before the Lord the world can no longer defeat us. It was deep and difficult to fully understand, but one sentence, in particular, caught my attention.
It was this: “The battle may take one minute or one year, but that will depend on me, not God.” Earlier this week I wrote how I thought of this year as a string of uneventful days. My wife, with the wonderful wisdom that helped me see things more clearly over the years, respectfully disagreed. She pointed out areas where I had either begun to help her or taken complete responsibility; in other words, I’d changed. To me they were of minor importance; I couldn’t see it without her pointing them out.
It’s easy for us to identify the “battle” we must fight when it comes to major life decisions. We point to those as the milestones which define us and our lives. But it’s the area we take for granted or consider unimportant where God sometimes does His most important work. And He will continue to work on that area until it is in conformity with His will and purposes or is eradicated. God desires us as His sole possession, pure and holy, without blemish or imperfection, no matter how long it takes.
That’s why for the child of God there is no such thing as “downtime.” Days we think of as uneventful are anything but to God because it’s then He can begin to transform us. It’s the true “battle time”. During those hours, days, and weeks we need to sit and be quiet, listening for what God wishes to teach us.
Now, when I look back over those “string of uneventful days”, seen with a new vision, I understand there was more happening than I realized at the moment. There were events which strengthened a conviction to be more diligent in seeking to put “all things under His feet” in this next year. None were significant at the time but each helped to develop a greater desire to let God make me into who wants me to be.
It’s a blessing we can’t see the results of God working in us and through us on a daily basis. We see it in the long view, as we look back and see growth and change over time. But it is in quiet, uneventful times we come before God and fight to master our will and subject it to Him. It is there we gain the victories that make us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). Chambers said it this way: “Nothing has any power over someone who has fought the battle before God and won there.”
May the new year bring you ‘uneventful’ days. But don’t treat them as just time away from work, or time to play, or “my time”. Recognize them for what they are: an opportunity to enter God’s presence, surrender your will to Him, and let him refine and shape you. If you desire a real victory over the hurts, temptations, sorrows, and frustrations of this life, that’s what it will take.